If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice or workplace accident, now what? For most the immediate reaction may be to sue the person or party who caused your injuries. While you may have a right to do that it is important to note that not all cases need an attorney. In fact, an attorney can refuse to take a case if they feel it isn’t worth their time or experience. This article will discuss determining defendant liability vis a vis the elements of a personal injury case.
Firstly, it is important to know that most personal injury claims require showing four basic elements. These elements are:
- Defendant owed a duty of care to the victim
- The defendant breached that duty
- The breach proximately and legally caused the victim’s injuries
- Victim was damaged in some way due to this breach
Each element must generally be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
Elements and Defendant Liability
When all these elements are put together, they basically ask the question, “Was the defendant liable for the accident?” In some situations, defendant liability is straight forward, meaning it is easy to see that the defendant was responsible. This responsibility could be for keeping the victim safe but the defendant acted in an unsafe way resulting in injury.
However, in other circumstances, defendant liability may be more difficult to determine. So much so that the victim may be blamed for their own actions that led to the accident. Or it may be that a third party may have shared the blame. However, before any attorney agrees to take on your case, they want to ensure the defendant’s liability can be established.
Even if liability is clearly evident an attorney may refuse to get involved in the case. This could be because there are not enough damages. Each case involves costs on the part of the attorney. So, if the compensation is not worth the costs of the case an attorney may reject to take a case.